#VeganFoodQuestNYC

You know how July 4th happened. On Wednesday. And then New York City happened on that Saturday!

The Plan

Catie and I will go to NYC. We will run our training distance for the day in Central Park. Then we will explore the city with emphasis on vegan food and drinks. It will be a day trip. Leave at 0600, be back in Washington at 2200. It will be another one for me and a first for Catie. Destination Training, is what we call it. It will be filed under #VeganFoodQuestNYC. There will be more #VeganFoodQuests in other cities.

The Goal

I had one more goal, as I told Amy at dinner Friday night, to outdrink Catie. Something that I have never  been able to do but tried and failed. She can usually hold her alcohol well and me, not so much. So it’s a big deal for me. Shh… Catie doesn’t know (cheating, I know).

The Execution

0600. Saturday. Oh wait, 0530. Union Station, Washington DC. We are in the line to board the train that departs at 0600 to NYC. Catie is excited, being her first Amtrak ride and her first visit to NYC. In fact, her first time north of Baltimore, ever! What we were supposed to do, according to the plan, was to keep our backpacks at Amtrak storage in New York Penn station and walk to 59th and 5th and run 5 miles, come back to Penn station, change to non-sweaty clothes and eat at as many vegan restaurants as possible and drink as much alcohol as possible before heading back in the evening.

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You can see we are both so sleepy!

Right after we got to Penn station, we had a setback on step 2 of our plan, the run. Due to events not in our control, we could not run. No biggie, right? sweat_emoji We’ll run in Washington on Sunday. facepalm3 We decided to not cry over spilt soymilk and enjoy the day. After all in we are in New York City and it’s a beautiful day!

by Chloe: First of many vegan food destinations of the day. That breakfast was just amazing.

Brooklyn Bridge: We walked all the way to Brooklyn Bridge. I have walked and ran across the bridge in the past. But it always is a fascinating experience. Except this time it was packed, I’ve never seen that many people on the bridge ever before!

Urban Vegan Kitchen: One Green Planet and HappyCow told us about this restaurant. I had a feeling I’ve been there before and sure enough, I have. You can add any alcohol to any juice to make your own cocktail there. Sweet, right! Their chickpea hushpuppies are da bom! Since we were not hungry enough, also with the plan to hit more vegan places, we just had the hushpuppies. Lunch #1.

Jack’s Wife Freda: While we are planning our trip, we came across an article in One Green Planet about the best breakfast and brunch places in the country. Since One Green Planet is a vegan focused publication, we assumed that Jack’s Wife Freda, which was on the list, was a vegan establishment. I really wanted to go there. I was looking at the map to find the location and Catie goes “look across the street”. And there it was, directly across the street from Urban Vegan Kitchen! We went in, looked at the menu and realized it is not a vegan restaurant. We read the One Green Planet review again and realized that they were talking about just this one tofu dish, Mustard seed crusted tofu, on their menu. Sure we tried it. Hands down, the best tofu I’ve ever eaten! Bonus, meeting one of the vibrant bartenders ever, Fitch. She told us to definitely come back as she was shaking a cocktail, incorporating a full body dance move! Lunch #2.

Mother of Pearl: The last stop in our quest. Incredible how everything – food, drinks, weather, our attitudes – kept getting better and better as the day progressed! Mother of Pearl was a fitting finale for an amazing day. Fully vegan Polynesian restaurant. It was so hard to choose what to order! We ordered everything. We had to try hard to finish our third entrèe (nothing to do with the taste, in fact the amazing taste was the only reason we could finish, we were just too full at that point) and realized that one more, the biggest one of our order, is yet to come. I don’t wanna get into the details, it was bad, all the way back to Washington. see-no-evil-monkey.png Dinner#1?

New York weather was super kind to us, with a high of a perfect 69°! Altogether we walked 13 miles in Manhattan. I think that covers the 5 miles that we were supposed to run? No? Fine. facebook-sad-smiley-facebook-symbols-and-chat-emoticons-Do1w2U-clipart

And how am I gonna burn all the extra calories from the week?

The Win

On the way back, in the train, Catie says “Did you realize you drank way more than me. That has never happened before, you know that, right?”!

YES!

Wut?

Did she know my secret goal? I know she didn’t but it was killer finish to the best day evuh, that she acknowledged it and that it was her who brought it up after all!

It’s the small things!

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20th 4th of July!

You work hard. You workout 6 days a week with one day a week for rest. Or so you tell your trainers while you workout on your rest day as well, like, biking or yoga or a long walk. Then you start seeing the results. You record a PR on a race. You are in love with your  bathroom scale (BTW, her name is “Just”) because she tells you all the good things you wanna hear. Or rather shows you.img_5966

Then fucking July 4th happens. You drink. You drink like there’s no fucking tomorrow. Even though you did an awesome 30+ mile bike ride in the morning, the 12 beers and the vegan red wine and the tequila-kombucha combo and the home cooked brunch and the vegan cupcakes your friend brought to the party and the Uber Eats you ordered late in the night – oh fuck – there’s no justifying any of it. Then the next morning, the extra  lbs you see is especially bad because when you checked your weight after the morning ride on the 4th it was lightest you’ve ever been since………. high school.

Fuck me.

BUT, it was the best 4th of July ever. Thanks to awesome friends. Amy. Chelsey. John.

Also the bike ride was awesome. I had the entire 8 lanes on Constitution Avenue for myself and my bike Ela on my way to Mt. Vernon Trail!

Speaking of independence day, I missed the 20th anniversary of me moving to US from India. It was on the 28th of June. I was planning on partaying it up but, fuck me, I completely forgot about it! The first place I live in US was Baltimore. I still have a soft spot for Baltimore. How ironic is that I now work in Baltimore! My first American friend (big up, Aaron) is still my friend and we hang out a lot!

Life!  download

Limitless

I should have titled this “weightless” or “weightloss” or something to do with “weight”. But limitless has more drama. Plus that’s how I feel lately. download (1)

I go to a group workout, bootcamp, every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday mornings. Through Vida Fitness, the #1 gym in DC. Wednesdays there’s a bootcamp in the evening as well which I just started going to. Yes, 2 bootcamps, 1 day. Typically I burn over a 1000 kcal during one of those 50 minute sessions. Easily. BTW, my badass trainer Katie runs these bootcamps! raising-hands

About 5 weeks back, I started on a path to eat better. Yes I am a plant based athlete but it does not automatically mean I am a healthy eater. I am one of those *junk food vegans* (JFV)! Yes, it’s a thing. Well, lemme say, I WAS, a JFV. Enter the two new beautiful human vegans. Around the same time! They started “addressing” my bad food habits. Got called out on the following:

I don't like most vegetables (I knowEye-roll.fw_-300x300). 
Love me all the fried stuff. Samosas, fries yumm... 
I snack all the time. 
Cupcakes and donuts - all of them! emoji5
Potatoes: All.the.way.
Bread. Bread. Bread.

Long story short, I dropped 8 lbs in less in that 5 weeks. Probably the healthiest weight loss in history. Hit me up if you like to know the specifics.

Wait…

I drank more beer in that same 5 weeks than the entirety of last year. Honest! Then how…? c60e666a9af7bcd1a7b887437b3520c3_384 I know. 4 out of 5 of the recent weekends, I burned 6000+ calories, each (Saturday and Sunday combined). Work hard play hard, right homies? Run, bike, HIIT, yoga, and wait for it….

Zumba!

I’m a Zumba bitch now. emoji-cool-guy-pillow-with-cool-blue-hair--82F6B28D.zoom

I am not trying to be a role model here. Nor I am trying to tell you anything good about approaching workouts and weight loss. A lil bragging? May be. emoji-happy-thumbs-up.jpg

This morning, it was 78° – 80° during bootcamp. It was just me at the group class so Katie worked out with me. SeaMoji-boom I love working out with Kaite, my favorite sessions. Something extra in the way she pushes me as a workout partner, from a trainer!

OK OK, back to the story. It was so humid, the heat index must have been 85ish. Plus it was one tough workout! The old Saiju would have burned, like, 1200 kcal but I only burned about 900! img_5553 Even a minor change in body weight plays a big part in your performance! Truth. On Friday, I ran 3.5 miles with Katie at about 8:40 / mile! That’s a big deal. Yes, I am lighter on my feet, more agile, have more energy. Plus all the beer!

You know I am diabetic, right? I set an aggressive fucking goal for myself. I will reverse diabetes by the end of the year.

There.      Accountability…      created.

And the medal goes to….

Katie! img_3152

Have you ever dedicated a race to your trainer? Neither have I, until now. Seriously, I am still in denial that I finished! And the only reason I finished is, all the hip flexor training, and nothing but the hip flexor training. With, and designed by, Katie.

Did I mention I did could not do any run training, AT ALL, for this? Oh, OK then.

The report from the field:

It was a crisp pre-spring morning in DC. 0° (c) at the start of Rock n Roll DC Marathon, at 7 am. I went in, mentally prepared to take a DNF, I was there just for the love of running. (OK OK OK, I wanted to show off, as a vegan athlete, I can run a full marathon with ZERO training).

You are on your 16th marathon. Although you haven’t set any time goals, you just want to finish, running mile 6 at 5:56 is NOT OK. That’s actually worse than a rookie mistake! That’s outright dumb. (I don’t think I was that fast, I think the tracker app fucked up, but I did run super fast every now and then during the first half). At half way point, I was headed for a PR. But then I paid handsomely for it.

The last 8 miles tho….

rnrcert

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My PETA Pack shirt got me a nice conversation and some high fives while running, with another vegan runner. She showed me her custom bib which read “Vegan 4 Animals”. Mine said “IRun4Animals”.

And all the cheers for PETA!

A girl in a chicken costume, with a megaphone, on the course, stopped me and wanted to play with my hair. She ran her fingers thru it and I was thinking, “fuck, you are messing it up”.

BUT she actually fixed it! See before and after! img_3154

 

My friend Lia, who is from Philly, who I think runs this race every year, who is also a vegan athlete, passed me right after the half way mark, just after I started getting severe quad cramps (didn’t even know it was a thing, never experienced it before) but not without some small talk.

The first time ever, I did not consume anything other than gatorade and water throughout the race! Of course I carb loaded at dinner the night before and had a piece of bread and coffee prior to start.

There is this killer hill along the course, about 10 miles into it, which is also part of my usual training route, which is also part of MCM and other local distance races. So I have traversed the hill mountain at least 10 times in the past few years but never ran up the whole damn thing. No, this time it was different. This time I ran the whole thing up and continued till next water station,which was more than a mile after! Booyah….

And I had to stop for a moment and pose for the finish line photographers, during “finish strong” last-quarter-mile-sprint.

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And like a total moron, I finished through the half marathon finish line!

End of report. 

Less than a week before the race, at an attempted, failed inversion pose during yoga, I messed up my back, big time. For the next couple of days, I even thought I may have to sit this one out. But no, my friend, and massage therapist extraordinaire, Chelsey, by use of her her excellent magical hands, cured it!

A couple of days prior to that, my hip flexor muscle had some issues and I had to go see my lovely and super knowledgeable NP, Gretchen. It was still bothering me a bit on race morning. At the end of the race tho, everything was hurting, so no biggie!

My primary care physician, Dr Loomis, who is also vegan, who is also a runner, ran a half marathon in November, faster than my PR, he is almost 60! I went to see him with an irregular heart beat issue the day before the race. My EKG was normal so I got the green to race!

Here are a lot of pictures of me running, from same and different angles. I know you live for this shit.

 

And…. not the least….
Thank you Katie, Chelsey, George, Dr Loomis, Gretchen, Becca(for those awesome songs and the early race day morning message)

And Ellen, Catie, Adam, Brianna, Amy, Chelsey for the “party”.

And as always, Shantanu!

#RnRDC #DCRocknRollMarathon #VeganAthlete #VeganRunner #NoRunTrainingMarathon

Fresh Start

It will be hard but let’s do it anyway” she said.

And ” do it”, we did. And hard, it was! And amazing, it felt. And we started doing it at 16°.

And the feeling of keeping up with the tradition of running on the 1st day of the year – priceless!

Mayor Bowser’s Fit DC FreshStart 5K on the 1st of Jan was my first run since July(?). It was slow but good. Spirits lifted. Muscles, ruffled!

Oh, who is she? Stephanie. Her second only race to date. Thanks to her I found out about this race.

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There are a couple of things going on with my life that makes me wanna just start whining. Back in the day. I used to crowd-source my emotions (thru fucking facebook) but I have learned from that mistake. I’m not gonna start again.

Focus. I have races to do. Animals to speak out for.

Peas…

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